California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed the listings of four chemical compounds identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as carcinogens at its last meeting in March.
In July, a coalition of non-profit advocacy groups petitioned OEHHA to add the four chemicals to the Proposition 65 carcinogen list.
The petitioners include: Mateel Environ-mental Justice Foundation (Mateel), Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs), Ecological Rights Foundation (ERF) and Center for Environmental Health (CEH).
The chemicals identified by IARC are: Glyphosate (CAS No 1071-83-6), Malathion (CAS No 121-75-5), Parathion (CAS No 56-38-2) and Tetrachlorvinphos (CAS No 22248-79-9).
According to IARC the following chemicals compounds related to Glyphosate are relevant to the listing because these salts dissociate to free glyphosate: 8641-94-0 (glyphosate-isopropylamine salt) 40465-66-5 (monoammonium salt) 69254-40-6 (diammonium salt) 34494-03-6 (glyphosate-sodium) 81591-81-3 (glyphosate-trimesium).
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, was first synthesized as a potential pharmaceutical compound in 1950. The compound’s properties as a herbicide were discovered in 1970. It is used as a herbicide in the U.S., in Europe, Australia and China.
Glyphosate is manufactured by Monsanto, which recently submitted comments opposing OEHHA’s proposal to list glyphosate.
Malathion is an insecticide in the chemical family known as organo-phosphates. Products containing malathion are used outdoors to control a wide variety of insects in agricultural settings and around people’s homes. Malathion has also been used in public health, mosquito control, and fruit fly eradication programs. It may also be found in some special shampoos for treating lice. Malathion was first registered for use in the United States in 1956.
According to the National Pesticide Information Center there are thousands of products containing malathion registered for use in the U.S.
Malathion kills insects by disrupting their nervous system. When healthy nerves send signals to each other, a special chemical messenger travels from one nerve to another to continue the message. The nerve signal stops when an enzyme is released into the space between the nerves. Malathion binds to the enzyme and prevents the nerve signal from stopping. The constant nerve signals prevents insects from moving and breathing.
Malathion is highly toxic to bees and some other beneficial insects, some fish, and other aquatic life. Malathion is moderately toxic to other fish and birds.
Parathion (CAS No 56-38-2) is an insecticide used to eradicate pests that target cotton, rice and fruit trees. Use of the chemical has been banned on many other food crops.
Parathion was developed in the 1940s by Dr. Gerhard Schrader for the German trust IG Farben. After the war and the collapse of IG Farben due to the war crime trials, the allies seized the patent, and parathion was marketed worldwide under different brand names and by different companies. Use of the chemical was banned in Germany in 2002.
Tetrachlorvinphos is also an organophosphate insecticide . It is used to control manure flies associated with livestock and poultry, and as a feed additive. It is also used to treat the livestock in mineral blocks, low pressure spray or in flea collars, ear tags or oral feed additive. Tetrachlorvinphos has been used in some pet flea collar products.
The public comment period for Glyphosate (CAS No 1071-83-6), Malathion (CAS No 121-75-5), Parathion (CAS No 56-38-2) has been extended to the close of business on October 20, 2015.
Comments submitted by e‑mail should be addressed to:
P65Public.Comments@oehha.ca.gov, and should include “NOIL” and the chemical name in the subject line. Comments submitted in paper form may be mailed, faxed, or delivered to:
Ms. Esther Barajas-OchoaOffice of Environmental Health Hazard AssessmentP.O. Box 4010, MS-19BSacramento, California 95812-4010Fax: (916) 323-2265
1001 I Street Sacramento, California 95814